Alicante Bouschet

Australian Alicante Bouschet wine regional and flavour profile

Alicante Bouschet tastes and aromas

Flavours and aromas of blackberry, cranberry, sweet dark berry with rich dark leathery scents and hints of maple syrup.

Alicante Bouschet mouthfeel

Dark, full-bodied wine, with heavy, course tannins and dry mouthfeel. Not for the faint of heart.

Facts about Alicante Bouschet

  • Alicante Bouschet is a red wine variety that is falling from favour in most areas of the world, including Australia. The exception is in Portugal where plantings are increasing in the hot dry Aletejo region.
  • It is the earliest ripening variety in Southern France, hence its use as a high cropping variety suitable for the production of undistinguished vin ordinaire.
  • Curiously, unlike most other varieties, the flesh and juice as well as the skin is pigmented. It is thus sometimes used in blends to add colour to otherwise pale red wine.
  • Alicante is a city on the Mediterranean coast of Spain and the name of its surrounding wine region, but this variety has little to do with the city. In fact, Alicante is one of the many synonyms used in Spain and Italy for Grenache, but Alicante Bouschet is a distinct variety. Henri Bouschet produced the variety in the mid 19th Century as a crossing of Petit Bouschet with Grenache. It’s ability to yield well and the deep colour made it popular in Southern France and in Spain.
  • Jancis Robinson designates it as a ‘workhorse variety’ but the Alicante Bouschet red wine grape variety is becoming much less popular because the wines made from it tend to lack structure.

Australian regions that produce Alicante Bouschet

Alicante Bouschet’s fate in Australia seems to be similar to that in France. Consumers as well as winemakers are more interested in quality wines and Alicante Bouchet wines often do not make the grade. That said, with care and attention the variety can be made into good red or rose wines, and sometimes sparkling wines.

It can also be found in small plantings in the Barossa Valley, Margaret River, Glenrowan, Adelaide Plains and Hunter Valley.

In France, the grape was historically a blending partner with Aramon but in recent times has been made more into its own varietal. However, planting of new vines has steadily declined. In some areas of France the grape is now extinct. The grape is still being actively grown in Portugal’s Alentejo region where it prized for its good colour, fruitiness and tannin levels. In Chile the grape is blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and to make concentrated varietal wines. In California the grape was popular among home winemakers during Prohibition and still grown today in Napa, Sonoma and Madera counties. Other areas with notable Alicante Bouschet plantings include Algeria, Israel and parts of central and southern Italy.

Alicante Bouschet wine and food pairings

Alicante Bouschet is a big, heavy, tannic red wine, and the default for most people on that is steak, some sort of big red meat like a porterhouse or prime rib or roast beef.

Pairing the wine with a marinara sauce could work well too – the fresh acidity from the tomato can cut through the heaviness of the wine quite nicely.

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